Mayor Durkan Issues Statement on City Council’s Proposed Budget Amendments

SEATTLE (November 9, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan released the following statement regarding the City Council’s proposed 2021 budget amendments. The City Council’s amendments come after the City Budget Office issued an updated economic forecast for 2020 and 2021 that shows an additional $57 million in net new revenue. In a letter to the City Council last week, the Mayor detailed her priorities for these additional revenues, including increasing services for the individuals experiencing homelessness, a restoration of the Strategic Investment Fund, a mitigation of City layoffs, and a citywide cleanup program to address litter and illegal dumping. The Mayor’s letter to City Council can be found here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have required the City to make its toughest budget decisions in generations to balance the 2020 and 2021 budgets. Fortunately, $57 million in new revenue will allow the City to meet its most pressing needs caused by a worsening COVID-19 crisis, including creating more shelter to help people transition to safer spaces, addressing encampments across the City, restoring transportation projects, preventing layoffs, and increasing alternatives to policing without jeopardizing public safety.

“One of my most important priorities in this budget was to transform how the City invests in communities of color by centering the experiences of Black and Indigenous communities. Even in this difficult year, my budget set aside historic resources to meet the challenges of this moment and move us toward being the city we want to be when we come out of this crisis: stronger, more just, and more equitable. The Council’s amendments continue that historic $100 million for communities through slightly different community-led processes. As Council hears additional input from community members, I look forward to working with Council on these investments, and I hope Council will consider additional investments beyond the $100 million that reflect the $57 million in new revenue and proposed reductions to SPD. We must make significant investments in community over a period of years to build true elements of community safety, such as healthy neighborhoods, investments in education, access to housing and health care, community wealth building, and economic opportunity. 

“Seattle is leading major cities across the country with some of the most significant and innovative reductions and changes to our police department. We put forward a plan and budget that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities. 

“This summer and fall, I proposed thoughtful reductions to the Seattle Police Department that coincide with increased and continued investments in alternatives to sworn officers including Health One, mental health professionals, and Community Service Officers. As we invest further in civilian public safety alternatives, I continue to have concerns about our increased rate of sworn officer attrition and its impacts on public safety and the Consent Decree. We must work together to ensure our police force is diverse and committed to community-based, constitutional policing.

“This summer, there were significant disagreements between me and the City Council on whether they should cut SPD by 50 percent without a plan to both ensure an effective and constitutional police response and robust alternative community-based solutions. With these budget amendments, I’m optimistic that we’ve turned a corner and can make collaborative, data-driven decisions that advance our shared policy goals, including making significant investments in community.”